Hearing aids are sophisticated devices that are used daily, in environments where they are often subjected to moisture, heat, earwax, dirt, and other irritants that can wreak havoc with their electronic components. Regular servicing and maintenance can prevent problems from occurring and extend the life of your equipment. Be sure to clean your hearing aids often – once a day is recommended – with a soft, dry cloth. Avoid water, solvents, alcohol, or cleaning fluids, all of which could cause damage. When not in use, store them in a protective container free of dust or dirt. Your audiologist can provide periodic checkups to test for power loss, dirty contact points, and plugged vents.
Regardless of how well you care for them, at some point your hearing aids may require repair. Fortunately, in many instances you’ll be able to troubleshoot and repair your hearing aids on your own. Some of the more common problems (and their solutions) include:
- Excessive feedback or whistling when inserted. This is often caused by excessive accumulations of earwax, or an improperly inserted instrument. Try removing and reinserting first. If you are still encountering problems, have a doctor check your ear canals, and have any excess wax removed.
- No sound. If your hearing aids aren’t producing sound, you may have a dead battery, clogged microphone, or clogged sound outlet. If replacing the battery doesn’t help, try cleaning the sound outlet, changing the wax filter, or cleaning the microphone with a brush.
- Sound is distorted or unclear. Distorted or unclear sound is often the result of a dirty or corroded battery (or battery contacts). Try cleaning the battery surfaces with a dry cloth, opening and closing the battery compartment, and replacing the battery. Alternatively, your hearing aid may have been inadvertently switched to telecoil; if that’s the case, simply switch it back to microphone.
If none of these troubleshooting techniques resolve your problem, you may need to take your hearing aids in to a certified professional for repair. The overall cost will depend on whether the unit is under warranty, the extent of damage, and the cost of replacement parts. Eventually, your hearing aids may be beyond repair. If they are over five years old, have visible damage, or have already been repaired several times, it may make financial sense to upgrade to new hearing aids.